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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    February 28, 2013
    1:00 - 6:00am EST  

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that is legal today. since the new town, massacre, several states including california since the newtown massacre, several states, including california, delaware, maryland, and new york have shown leadership in moving to ban assault weapons or strengthen existing bans. even so, the need for a common ban has never been greater. the california law enforcement tells me that some criminals continue to acquire the guns from neighboring states like arizona, where they are unregulated. in the last 10 years, 9% of the crime guns in the city of chicago could be traced to the
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state of mississippi. it is clear that we need a national solution. let me describe briefly that key features of this new legislation of assault weapons ban a 2013. the bill bans the sale, transfer, and importation and manufacturing of 167 specifically named semi automatic assault weapons. it bans any other assault weapon, which is defined as semi automatic that can have a detachable magazine. these features were developed for military weapons to make them more affective and efficient at killing people in close combat situations. the bill prohibits large capacity ammunition devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
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this is a crucial part of this legislation. these large magazines make a gun especially dangerous because they allow a shooter to fire 100 rounds are more without having to pause to reload. in many instances like the tragic shooting of congresswoman gabrielle giffords and tucson, arizona, it was only when the shooter had to change a magazine when or others have the chance to take the shooter down. the bill protects the rights of legitimate gun owners. it will not affect hunting or sporting firearms. the bill protects legitimate hunters by specifically excluding over 2000 specificly named by make and model firearms used for hunting or sporting purposes.
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second, the bill will not take away any weapons that are owned today. anyone who says otherwise is simply trying to deceive you. finally, it would ban the future sale or transfer of these magazines, including the manufacturing, implementation, or possession. let me address for a moment the charge that the assault weapons ban such as this are unconstitutional. the original federal assault weapons ban and it was challenged repeatedly on every grounds the opponents to come up with, including the second amendment, the ninth amendment, the commerce clause, the due
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process clause, equal protection, and being a bill of the chamber. each and every time these challenges were rejected and the ban was upheld, including by the fourth, 6th, 9th, and d.c. circuit. the supreme court subsequently recognizes the individual rights to gun ownership in the district of columbia. however, that decision clearly stated, "the right secured by the second amendment is not unlimited." justice scalia, the author of that opinion, wrote that quote. state assault weapons bans in california and the district of columbia have been upheld as consistent with the second
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amendment in people v james and heller v. district of columbia. the assault weapons ban of 2013 has received the endorsement of major law enforcement organizations, including major the major cities chief of police. i'm please that this legislation is endorsed by the conference of mayors, mayors for gun control, and other groups of officials. without objection, i will place the list of endorsements on the record. i yield to senator grassley for his opening remarks. >> i ask for the committee's approval for my remarks. >> so ordered. >> madam chairwoman, thank you for holding today's hearings.
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the tragedy at the newtown has caused all of us to ask, what has happened in our society to bring about that tragedy and a lot of other similar tragedies? we are shocked and horrified by the murder of innocent children. we sympathize with the victims and their families. from one of our witnesses today, i want to express my personal and deep sympathies for your loss and your neighbors. thank you for sharing your pain. we do not want anything like this to happen again. we want to take effective action to prevent future catastrophes. we can make the world safer for people on the streets, safer for children in schools. society has become less civil.
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violent video games have encourage the killings of people. videogames ought to be a deep concern. health services are not always up to par. we have heard testimony that hundreds of thousands of mentally ill people in arizona, people who are not legally allowed to own weapons, have not been provided for inclusion in that database. an incomplete database that fails to conform to existing law does not provide all of the safety that american people have a right to expect. existing prohibitions on gun possessions are not enforced as much as they should be. there is much that can be done to enhance safety. i respect senator feinstein's
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view on this issue. i know that your views are very sincere. the interest that you have in banning assault weapons is a very consistent decision you have taken over the past years. i happen to have a different view. some guns are based on their features. others have nothing to do with the functioning of the weapons. as a result, the bill would ban some guns that are less powerful and that inflect less severe wounds than others that are exempt. such arbitrary distinctions in the fact that these weapons are commonly used her self-defense raise constitutional questions under the second amendment. there are occasions when people think congress should pass a new law. the idea is that supporters can be might have a solution to a
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problem. this is not the case with assault weapons ban. congress passed such a law in 1994. it was on the books for 10 years. at the end of those 10 years, the university of pennsylvania researchers concluded that, "they cannot credit the ban with any of that nation's recent drops in gun violence." the study of the center of disease control and the national research council also not-- cou nd nold not determine the effectiveness of the ban. "a complete elimination of assault weapons would not have a large impact on homicide."
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a justice official wrote in the same document that because theft and straw purchasers are the largest source of crime guns, universal background checks likely shift offenders theft and straw purchases. the assault weapons ban did not prevent the earlier school shooting at columbine. officer young, as a child, survived a shooting in california. students were shot.26 were inj ured. he set out his reasons for opps
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osing gun bans. when something has been tried and not found to work, we should try a new approach. there are vast numbers of gun control laws in the country. criminals do not obey them. law-abiding citizens do. that tips the scale in favor of criminals who use guns. if weapons bans were effective, homicide rates would be down. law enforcement is poorly enforcing current gun laws. in fact, the u.s. attorney's office for the northern district of illinois, only 25 federal firearms cases were brought to that office in 2011. only 1% of the people, 62 out of over 4000
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were denied guns based on background checks are prosecuted for illegally attempting to acquire firearms. that is too low of a rate. see what can be done by enforcing the law on the books before enforcing new ones. we will legislate in an area that deals with the issue of reporting to the database for the people who are not in there now. make sure that we deal with the mental health issues that are involved with the tragedies that we are talking about today and a lot of other tragedies that have
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happened. thank you. >> thank you, senator. will the witnesses please stand? affirm the oath as i complete the reading. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you. i will introduce the two witnesses from this panel. the first is john walsh, u.s. attorney. he has served for u.s. attorney in colorado since august of 2010 after he was unanimously confirmed by the senate. as u.s. attorney, he is responsible for supervising and coordinating the federal investigation of the mass shootings at a movie theater in aurora, colorado.
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as is becoming u.s. attorney, dash before becoming u.s. attorney, mr. walsh was a member of a law firm and partner in a law firm. early in his career, he served as chief of the major fraud section of the u.s. attorney office in los angeles, supervising 35 assistants, u.s. attorneys, prosecuting white- collar offenses. i will also introduce chief edward flynn. he has a long career of leadership in public safety. he has been the chief of the milwaukee police department since 2008. he commands an agency of 2000 sworn in officers and 700 civilians. previously he served as secretary of public safety in massachusetts under governor mitt romney. he oversaw the massachusetts state police and the department of corrections. he has also served as chief of police in springfield and chelsea, massachusetts, and in arlington, virginia.
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he is a member of the police executive research forum. he is a member of harvard, connecticut school of policing. if the two of you will go ahead. keep the remarks to five minutes so there is an opportunity for questioning. >> [inaudible] >> could you activate the mike? there is a button right there. >> it is a privilege to present the views of the department of justice on the need to protect american public by eliminating -- access to dangerous military -style weapons and magazines. reasonable limitations on these weapons are supported by a
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majority of americans. the department does not yet have a decision on any particular legislation in this area, we are confident the ban to be implemented in a way that protects the public without inter-hearing with the rights of law-abiding citizens. on behalf of the department of justice, thank you, senator feinstein, for your efforts to address the plague of gun violence in our country. colorado has a history in frontier positions of gun ownership and respect to the second amendment. at the same time, colorado residents have witnessed gun tragedy on a scale we never could have imagined. it has been shaken by this senseless mass shooting at the colombo and in 1999 and the most recent in our aurora in 2012. also, the chilling event in tucson, arizona, newtown, and other communities. these events remind us that individuals who are intent on inflicting mass casualties have ready access to the tools that
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they need to inflict maximum damage in a matter of moments, even seconds. military-style weapons can hold 20, 30, or 100 rounds of magazines. these are properly subject to reasonable legislation under the second amendment. as a longtime federal prosecutor and now sitting u.s. attorney, shutting off the flow of high- capacity magazines is a top safety priority. it has to be coupled with other measures. continue aggressive enforcement of existing firearms laws, new laws every car universal background checks on private firearm transfers, enhance background checks on those who are properly prohibited from acquiring weapons, such as
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people with felonies or domestic violence or mental illness. the power and the rate of fire of these firearms are the reasons that they have become weapons of choice for gangs and drug trafficking organizations. we also must eliminate the ability of shooters to inflict massive numbers of fatalities in a matter of minutes through the use of high-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. it can turn any weapon into a tool of massive violence, even a handgun. the shootings at virginia tech, tucson, arizona, all involved handguns using magazines with more than 10 rounds.
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high-capacity magazines is not required for defending one's home or sports shooting. it enables shooters to inflict maximum damage on humans. forcing such a person to stop and reload can save lives. that was the case in tucson, arizona when a 30-round magazine ran out and he had to reload. he was tackled. i go to bed every night wondering whether i will be awakened by another dawn call which notified me of the horrifying mass shooting in aurora, or whether i will receive calls from other u.s. attorneys from around the country confronting the same sort of event in their own home state. i'm proud to serve as a u.s. attorney for colorado.
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it is the state i grew up in. it proudly honors american institutions, including the ownership of firearms as guaranteed by the second amendment. i also share the view of most law enforcement professionals and ordinary americans that there should be reasonable proposals to restrict the sale of military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. it is needed to protect the american people. i urge the committee to act. thank you. >> thank you. chief flynn. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify today. the international association of the chief of police, major city chiefs associations, all have proposals regarding firearms violence general and assault weapons. as an act of member of these organizations, it takes collective wisdom of the chief law enforcement executives in the country. i have been an officer for many years.
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i have had the opportunity to lead law enforcement agencies in three states for the past 25 years. among the most difficult challenges i continue to face is the firearms violence that occurs in our neighborhoods. assault weapons are not built for sports. assault weapons are built to inflict violence against humans. it is not cosmetic in nature. these weapons are designed for combat. they are designed do it quickly and efficiently. in 2012, milwaukee police officers investigated 435 nonfatal shootings. we confirm that rifles were used in 185 crimes in the last year. in 2010, we uncovered assault rifles from the streets of milwaukee. in 2011, firearms were the number one cause of death of police officers killed in the line of duty. seven of my officers were shot with assault rifles or semi-
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automatic pistols. the mass murders we hear about are horrifying. we must recognize that our nation's it is our enduring slow mass murders every single year. in 2008 in the city of milwaukee, three suspects fired into a crowd of 100. two of the suspects shot 27 shots, leaving four people dead in the street. a 12-year-old girl was playing in front of her house when shots were fired from a semi-automatic pistol. a few weeks ago, criminals fired high caliber rounds into a duplex. the rounds penetrated the interior walls, furniture, and a seven-year-old child.
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the notion that innocent, law- abiding citizens will use an assault weapon for high-capacity firearms to protect themselves is not out of experience. the victims of such homicides in the walkie are typically career criminals. a percentage of suspects and 82% of victims have criminal history. our experience indicates that a vast majority of our home invasion victims are drug dealers. they do not need semi automatic rifles to protect themselves. this second amendment, like every constitutional right, is subject to reasonable restrictions and regulations. in 2008, the supreme court ruled that the second amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm. the right secured by the second amendment is not unlimited.
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our system is designed to protect individual rights and the rights of the communities. this is not an impossible feat. these are not mutually exclusive rights. we have an obligation to protect both. this does not take guns out of the hands of americans. it does not strip them of their rights. it has more to do with commerce than the second amendment. a lot of people make a lot of money selling firearms and ammunition. it can tempt us to search for and grab onto false logic. the build being discussed today is as reasonable restrictions on future sales of certain types of firearms and magazines. it recognizes the distinction between hunting rifles and assault weapons. it allows for the sale and transfer of grandfathered weapons after a commonsense
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background check is completed. it prevents the preventable. it is time for congress to pick a side. this time i hope it is law enforcement. >> thank you, chief. for questions, i have one question. this question is on columbine. i would like to ask it of that u.s. attorney is in here today. two students were murdered, mr. walsh. -- excuse me, two students murd ered several students and inj ured outhers. the gun man used an assault pistol. it would be banned by this legislation. the national rifle association has said the solution is to have armed security guards at every school. as you may know, there were two
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armed deputy sheriffs at columbine. did they succeed at stopping the tragedy? did they try? what happened? >> with respect to columbine, obviously the armed guards who were present that they were not able to prevent the terrible tragedy that took place. i would note that the president's proposal of important gun control and gun violence control initiatives does include a portion that gives local schools the option and the hopefully the funding to have community resource officers present in the school. that is something that individual schools might choose. it is fair to say that our experience is that armed guards is not sufficient to prevent the kinds of things we have seen. >> thank you. chief, could you comment on that as well? >> having armed security present is essential, but there are no guarantees.
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especially for cities like milwaukee. we have a hard enough time keeping the police department the strength as it is. i do not know who will pay for the armed guards. perhaps someone will come up with a grant program to do it. it is an extraordinary cost and it is no guarantee. if they are around the wrong corner, violence can break out. i have an armed guard in a school picking up a fist fight between two sophomores. every piece of security we engage in can be helpful, but it is foolish to think that a link security is what we need. the great challenge is to prevent the tragedies. and prevention is making it difficult for people to outgun the police. make it difficult for people to bring assault weapons to school. that should not be easy.
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any amount of armed guards will be outgunned by someone who is armed with an assault weapon. if we ignore doing something about weapons that enable people to slaughter folks many a time, we are not dealing with the root of the problem. >> thank you. senator grassley. >> thank you each of you for your testimony. i want to start with mr. walsh. the last u.s. attorney to testify before the constitution subcommittee stated that the department supported assault weapons legislation "and we'll work to ensure that whatever comes out, it is constitutional." the committee is set to mark up a bill tomorrow.
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what has the department done in the interim to work with senator feinstein to ensure that legislation is constitutional and has the department conducted any formal review of the constitutionality of the bill? >> if i could start off, the department strongly supports the goals of senator feinstein's bill to enact in assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines. it can be crafted and the affected and applies with the second amendment. as i sit here today, there have been communications back and forth. they can assist in working through the provisions. i'm not aware of a formal opinion of the constitutional of the proposal that is before the committee at this time. >> when he testified before the subcommittee, he said that he was "not familiar enough with theheller opinion to give an
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opinion." i hope you are more prepared than he was. have you read heller? and you tell us what level of scrutiny that is most the supreme court decision would apply to an assault weapons ban? >> first of all, i have read the heller opinion. i want to be careful. the department has not issued a formal opinion on the constitutionality of that particular legislation.
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having said that, the important thing to keep in mind for the is the three-part threshold that justice scalia and the heller opinion articulate. whether the weapon is a dangerous and unusual weapon of the kind that is traditionally been regulated and accepted. finally, whether the legislation under consideration in some manner impacts the core of the second amendment right, and that is the self defense right. look at each of those three threshold. it is fair to say that an assault weapons ban can be crafted successfully. it is something that i am certain that we will continue to work with the committee and senator feinstein in the course of this. i have great confidence that we
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can come up with effective bans that do not infringe on those rights. >> to this point, you do not know if this legislation meets that? >> we are confident we will be able to craft specific legislation that does comply. i'm certain that the president would not sign a bill that he did not believe was in accordance with -- >> the ar-15 is in common use. over 4 million are in use today. >> there are quite a few ar-15's used today. you could have a discussion on whether it is a common weapon these days. that is an issue that has to be discussed down the road. >> let's look at it from another
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standpoint. is it dangerous and unusual? >> it is dangerous. the concern of the department's on this is that it is very dangerous. >> how about the level of scrutiny that we are applying to the limitation of high magazine capacity? >> it is the same three-part test. it focuses on the unusual component first. when you see a magazine of the size we have seen in many mass shootings -- the 100 round magazine that was used in aurora of july 2012, it is difficult to see how anyone could believe that is not a dangerous device when coupled with an assault weapon like an ar-15. i went to be careful about this and only speak to what is in the
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public record. there is a pending criminal prosecution. what we saw in aurora is that in the short amount of time in which the shooter was shooting, 12 people died. 10 died from wounds inflicted from the assault weapon. one died from shotgun wounds and one was hit. the dangers of a high-capacity 100 round clip is hard to deny. >> thank you. senator durbin. >> thank you. let me start by thanking you. you have been under a lot of heat for your leadership on this issue for a long time. we have endured so many tragedies.
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newtown is the most recent. it is an indication that your early inclination toward restricting and regulating the use of these weapons was certainly necessary to keep america safe. let me address mr. walsh for a moment. it is clear in the heller decision that what the court found to be the core purpose of the second amendment was individual self-defense. restrictions in heller on high- capacity magazines of assault weapons do not effectively disarm individuals is essentially affect their ability to defend themselves. the second amendment does not prevent lawmakers from enacting reasonable regulations that do not interfere with the core right guaranteed by the
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constitution. it comes to this point -- that man stood in that theater in aurora, colorado, using magazine capacity of 100 rounds and using this assault weapon to kill as many people as possible. fortunately, it jammed. as i understand it, it stopped him from his brutal purpose. i guess the question that is raised is whether are not it is constitutionally protected right under the second amendment for someone to own and use a gun with a capacity to kill. what is your conclusion? >> i may have been careful to ensure that we are taking into account the decisions in heller and mcdonald by the supreme court. in addressing those two cases
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and looking at the scope of the retractions afforded by the second amendment, there clearly is room for reasonable regulation, particularly dangerous and unusual weapons. it is fair to say that the department believes that limitations on high-capacity magazines, anything over 10 rounds would be constitutional based on that amount. >> let me ask you this second part. you have gone through tragedy after tragedy in the city of chicago with gun violence. i have met with many families. i cannot tell you how many. they have lost innocent children to gun violence. there have been some sense of it continuing. it troubles and angers me. especially when these are dismissed as a failure of law enforcement.
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there are adequate laws in the books. enforce the laws. these things would not happen. take the issue of straw purchasing. how many federal prosecutions there were of a legend straw purchasers? how many prosecutions were there, both state, local, and federal? in many instances, federal prosecutors and state prosecutors are saying, you have a better chance to convict at the state level with a more meaningful penalty. let me bring that back home to you, the u.s. attorney office. when there is a potential prosecution for an obvious straw purchaser, what goes through your mind? >> if i may, i would like to emphasize something that you commented on. our work has to be in close corporation with states and local police and state and local
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prosecutors as well. we need to work as a team. we have gun violence. that gives us opportunity to choose in cooperation to decide where the charges are best brought and a meaningful sentence might be sound. in the spring of 2011, in aurora by coincidence, there were officer shootings. there was great concern that we were about to embark on a summer of violence, so to speak. with other chiefs in the metropolitan areas, we convened a group of law enforcement folks, atf included, and enacted a summer initiative aimed at aggressively reaching out and arresting felons and other criminals who were attempting to
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get the guns or were trying to buy them. there were a total of 85 criminal prosecutions and convictions. they were a mix. there were a substantial number that we took stateside, so to speak. that was the most effective way to approach the case in a particular area. to go to your question about trafficking, part of the difficulty we had and part of the reason we have asked the committee to consider and the president has proposed a stronger gun trafficking law, is that we are currently basically trying to prosecute those under u.s. code 92286. those cases are difficult. many times, a judge or a jury may see that kind of prosecution as more of a paperwork violation
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rather than something that really indicates public safety. for those reasons, we need to assess, and the career prosecutors that are making these decisions often say we need to find some other way to take this particular thing off the street. >> let me just say in conclusion, yours is the second testimony under oath with in the last several weeks that has said exactly the same thing, that this is a shared responsibility of prosecution. i wish those who were criticizing what was going on in many states, with at least take notice of the fact there are prosecution efforts underway that are not assisted by the fact that many of our laws on the federal level are too weak when it comes to this. >> i could not agree more. i think we should get on record and make our respective cases. there is no doubt senator feinstein is very sincere. i do not know what to say other than that i am sorry. we will have a discussion about this topic and in light of the world as it is rather than how
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we would like it to be. how many crimes are committed with rifles in terms of homicide in the united states? what percentage? >> senator, i know it is a small fraction. >> in 2011, it was twice as many people killed with their hands. how many prosecutions have you taken upon yourself? how many prosecutions have you taken up for failing a
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background check since you have been u.s. attorney? >> i am not aware of any of the top of my head. >> i want to put into record the federal background check form, it says up top you are subject to prosecution if you provide false information. how many cases have you referred to state prosecutions? >> i do not have a specific number on that. if i may, i think it is important to recognize where our focus is. it's on prosecuting. >> clearly it is not on prosecuting people who fail background checks.would you agree with that? if you have not done any, how could you not agree? >> i do not agree. >> the point is if you are going to fail background checks, we ought to start forcing the lot
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-- the law that is on the book because almost 80,000 people fill the background check and 44,000 people are prosecuted, what kind of deterrent is that? the law is obviously not seen as that important if it is just such an important issue, why are we prosecuting people who fail a background check? there are 15 questions not hard to understand. i am a bit frustrated we would say one thing, how important it is, and in the real world, we do nothing to enforce the laws on the book. >> for the record, from my point of view -- it does not matter, it is a paper-thin. >> i ask the questions. >> i want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. that is what a background check does.
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[applause] [gavel] >> senator, if you would with hold for one moment. plesase. keep this civil. >> being civil and confirming convictions are not inconsistent here i admire what you do. it is a dangerous job. has your budget gone down in the last year? >> it has been funded by the city in a great expense. i think is just a reality. i want americans to know what this police chief is facing, almost every other police chief is facing. less money. how many cases have you made for somebody violating a background check. >> we do not make those cases, senator.
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we make 2000 gun cases a year. that is our priority. we are trying to prevent the wrong people buying guns. that is why we do background checks. if you think i will do a paper chase, then you think i will miss use my resources. >> i am asking you a question about how the law works today. you have made no cases because you say it is not within your belly width. how many cases have you turned over to prosecutor at the state level that you know of? >> we all know the answers to these questions. they are self answering; we do not chase paper. we chase armed criminals. >> the point is if we do not want the wrong people to own guns, which we all agree come then the one way to do that is to take the system that is supposed to distinguish between the person who should and should
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not to enforce it. i pass the background check. is it not really about who has begun sometimes more than the gun itself? the point i am trying to make is if there are 4 million ar-15 is in this country owned by people like me, i think the argument would be in it is in common use. you may not understand why i want to own an ar-15 and i'm not understand what movies you want to watch, but we are talking about trying to solve a problem that has a central core that people who are committing these crimes should never have any guns or one bullet. that is what we all agree on. the best way to prevent crazy people, mentally unstable people from getting a weapon is to identify them somehow before they murder somebody or try to buy one. i will end on this note. in south carolina, i have got parents here. a lady went into ashley hall with a 22 automatic pistol --
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and thank god the gun did not function -- who passed a background check at the federal level. who has been adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity of trying to kill the president of the united states.before i'm told by my colleagues and the witness, we need to change our laws and i would argue the law is fundamentally broken when almost no one gets prosecuted. if you can pass a background check, having been the adjudicated mentally insane by the federal court, we should start by fixing the laws we have rather than expanding them and creating a false sense of security. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you for your longstanding passion and commitment on this issue. a passionate commitment well- founded in your own experience. i would supplement what my
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friend, senator gramm said, by saying we can boast cleanup the existing laws and background checks and take necessary steps to make sure truly dangerous and unusual weapons are out of the hands of those who intend to do terrible harm to their fellow citizens. in the context of that, this is our second hearing. in the last hearing, an array of witnesses from both sides appeared. i was struck one of the republican witnesses who was testifying contrary to legislation conceded that these large capacity magazines do not fall within the heller description. i think we are on very safe ground, constitutionally, addressing the type of capacity magazines. it is important that people understand what a difference it makes when somebody undertakes a commitment and they have the additional capacity for evil and
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harm as a result of the initial capacity in those magazines. mr. walsh, you have obviously look very closely at the facts of what took place in aurora. i suspect you also look at the facts of some of the cases that did not occur in your jurisdiction. to the extent you can do so, while staying within the public record, could you describe for us the events that took place in that movie theater and what you think might have been different if that weapon had not existed. in your case and if you have information to share in other to the extent you can do so, while staying within the public record, could you describe for us the events that took place in that movie theater and what you
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think might have been different if that weapon had not existed. in your case and if you have information to share in other cases? >> i want to touch on three different instances of mass shooting where i think a high- capacity magazine had tragic consequences. i do need to be careful in discussing the theater shooting. in that shooting, a matter of public record is the shooting resulted in 12 dead and 58 wounded and it took place within the scope of 90 seconds. the fact that there were high- capacity magazines in play
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during that time was obviously material. in the newtown shooting, the information i have is all of the shooting took place in less than four minutes. again, in that case, high- capacity magazines were used. in the tucson, arizona shooting, there were high-capacity magazines. was after a 30 round magazine was expended by the shooter that really heroic people tackled him to stop the shooting. there is evidence to suggest in that situation lives would have been saved. this happened very quickly. there is no way we are going to prevent people from engaging in these sorts of the tax completely. we do not have a crystal ball
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that enables us to see into the mind of people who might be spent on this kind of horror. what we can do by limiting and banning high-capacity magazines is we could limit the damage and tragedy and horrific casualties that those people cause when they undertake those sorts of actions. >> my final question. when you consider the amount of damage done in narrow time frames, 90 seconds or four minutes, how realistic do you believe adding armed guards to schools to intervene in such a sudden and deadly attack? >> i do not want to rule out the potential value a local school board might put on having an armed guard. there are situations you can imagine it could be of assistance. it is hard to see they will solve the problem.
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it is worth mentioning the schools are the most horrible example of where mass shootings take place. they are not the only places. >> thank you. >> thank you. let me read the list, according to our rules. i know senator blumenthal was the first in the room. the staff is telling me that is not early bird. you have to be here at the same time the testimony begins. i make that apology to you. >> no apology necessary. i am here for the duration.
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>> good. thank you. senator, you are up next. >> for the witnesses of the other families that have been affected by the gun violence, you have our sympathy and the desire to find some way to mitigate violence in our society. we are interested in what would work. first of all, we appreciate your services asking u.s. attorney. would you define what an assault weapon is? >> from the point of view of the department, there are a couple critical considerations. i realize the legislation includes a very elaborate definition of particular aspects of assault weapons that would
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qualify them for an assault weapons ban. i do not mean to comment on those specifically. i want to focus on some of the most important attributes. we were talking about a weapon that is a rifle and has a high muzzle velocity. second, they are capable of a high rate of fire. they are also capable of excepting a very high-capacity magazine. there are other features i know were covered in the bill, a threaded barrel, a grenade launcher attachment is included. those things had some effect on the weapon. the three points i made to you that make the weapons the most dangerous were when i mentioned.
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>> under this legislation, were it to pass, none of the current assault weapons and people's possessions would not be affected? >> that is correct. there is no confiscation of wea pon. >> do you know how many there are? >> i have seen various estimates. the numbers being discussed in this hearing were 4 million. i have seen 3.5. in that range. >> they would be prohibited that woods and they still would be in - under this legislation and they still would be in the possession of american citizens. >> that is correct. the fact that we cannot completely addressed this issue immediately does not mean that over time, a ban on new weapons
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coming into the stream of commerce will not have the effect of improving the safety of the american people. >> there is a lot of debate within the department of justice whether the previous assault weapons ban had any impact whatsoever. i will quote from part of the 1997 bank of japan study. the evidence is not strong enough for us to conclude there was any meaningful effect, that the effect was different from zero. if we are interested in what will solve the problem of gun violence in america, i think we would want to do something that is not tokenism or symbolic, we would want to do something to figure out how to solve the problem, if we can. could you identify any of the recent tragedies we have seen where those tragedies would have been averted if this legislation
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would have been in effect? >> i cannot tell you they would have been 100% totally averted. i can tell you with some confidence the casualty level would have been lower if the perpetrators did not have the kind of high-capacity magazines they possess and the kind of assault weapons that were used. if i may go back to your earlier point, on the question of the effectiveness of the 1994 assault weapons ban, part of the difficulty is the band has not been adequately studied. the conclusions you were referring to, which accurately depict some of the more recent conclusions are as a result of not having the data necessary to fully analyze the results.
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there were a couple things that came out that are very important and would strongly support a new assault weapons ban. >> if you will permit me, hopefully we can continue the here is the quandary i find myself in. the department of justice's record of actually enforcing current gun laws is abysmal. people lie on background checks and are not being prosecuted. out of 76,000 denied background checks, the fbi referred to the bureau of alcohol and tobacco and firearms, a burden of plea was reached in 13 cases. a law congress passed that encouraged the state's -- it has been a very spotty record of
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compliance by the states. we have people who were adjudicated, mentally ill, who would not show up on a background check because that 2008 law has not been adequately enforced. then there is this. we see a number of states like connecticut who have much more restrictive gun laws where some of these tragedies have occurred. we have not stopped it. you even have countries like mexico where you have 60,000 people killed as a result of drug cartel activity and criminals are not stopped by restrictions or law-abiding citizens. is not clear to me that passing more laws that will not be enforced enthusiastically by the department, and you look at the studies that have been done on previous assault weapons
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bans, and no evidence that it actually had any impact whatsoever, you say it needs more study. that is fine. i would be interested in what the study reveals. just call me skeptical that passing the assault weapon ban would have any real impact given the fact criminals will continue to get guns and the lack of enforcement by the department. >> thank you. you have been very indulgent. >> thank you. >> may i respond? in response to your point, i have a couple of really important things that need to be said today. i could not disagree more strongly that the department of justice is not aggressively enforcing the existing fire arms. we spend an enormous amount of
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time, effort, energy, talent, skill, and sleepless nights enforcing those laws. if you take a look at 2012, the total number of criminal prosecutions brought by the department of justice was in the vicinity of 85,000. of those, one in seven involved firearms charges. in colorado a couple weeks ago, we did a similar assessment for 2012. in colorado, close to one in five of the criminal prosecutions we bring our cases involving firearms. what are those cases? those cases are those in which a criminal has and uses a firearm. we have limited resources. i know everyone in this room understands the federal government have limited resources to address these things. as a prosecutor and as the prosecutors in my office consider cases, we go for the worst of the worst.
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the worst of the worst cases are the one in which a bad guy has actually got a gun. that is where we focus our attention. i acknowledge paperwork violations, lying on forms, are federal crimes. part of the things we all need to keep in mind is the fact that 80,000 or 76,000 people in 2012 were rejected as part of the firearms check and not able to buy a firearm, that in and of itself is a victory. that system is working. if you go back to when the fire arms check first went into affect, there were over 1.5 million potential purposes rejected because a person is prohibited, either by a private felony. that is a record of success. there is also no way the department of justice could have prosecuted all 1.5 million
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people who were rejected over that 15-year purpose. my point is, i am an enforcement guy. i completely agree with you we need to be enforcing the existing fire arms laws effectively. when i think about the people in my office. because they are working so hard, i just have to tell you, i disagree with you. these are career folks. they are not people who are driven by any other politics. they care deeply about their community. >> i applaud mr. walsh for your commitment. i used to be in your line of work. i admire people who put their lives at risk every day.
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but i do not believe -- when asked. if i can ask that the record i was referring to, if they could be made part of the record. >> so order. thank you. thank you for your work in law enforcement. our neighboring state of wisconsin, and also in colorado, all three of our states share common beliefs, that hunting and recreation is an important part of our culture. is important in minnesota. i have supported the heller decision, but i thought you did a good job of explaining how those decisions anticipated rules and regulations. it is our job.
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that is what this hearing is about. the first thing i think there is agreement on is felons should not have guns. i got into that. that was one of my top priorities to enforce those laws. a second one that is emerging is the problem with the background checks. most gun owners agree we should have some kind of background check. one of the problems is the private sale loophole. one of the data from fbi show the number of women killed by a firearm by intimate partners was 34% lower by states who regulated such sales. do you think this would be helpful in domestic abuse cases to close that loophole? >> they give for the question. >> your mike is off. >> thank you for the question. one of the most effective and important elements is a provision that prohibits people with domestic violence
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misdemeanors, as well as felony convictions from owning a weapon. the reason for that if the statistics show in cases of habitual domestic violence, the presence of a gun in a home can be deadly. to many of those cases result in the death of the abused spouse or intimate partner. one of the area's where we need to have an invigorated the existing database and an expanded database to cover all sorts of private transactions it is exactly that area. right now, all too often, those offenses may or may not show up accurately in a database. we need to tighten that up. we also need to make a really strong efforts to ensure habitual domestic violence offenders are not able to obtain a gun from a friend or through a
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purchase or things of that sort. that is why tightening up or extending private transactions -- >> i will submit questions on the record. there is difficulty for law enforcement. most people would agree it is an area where it is reasonable to make regulations. we have the issue of mental health records. a guy killed his parents, got up, this just happened, and they found him with a bunch of weapons. he had actual notes about newtown when they found him.
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i believe more work can be done there and there should be public support for that. my last question, we have heard a lot of statistics brown about the effectiveness of the assault weapons ban. you have been in law enforcement for 40 years. what was your personal experience. do you observe a change from when it was enacted? >> thank you. i had to endure research and statistics class is that made my hair hurt. i did not learn. one of the things i learned was the existence between correlation and causation. we have a study in 2007 that could not identify causations. it was written by ph.d.'s. they can never decide anything.
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the fact of the matter is, during the bill, the number of assault weapons used in violent crimes declined. we did not do a controlled study. we did not give out ak-47's. then we would know appeared we took a leap of faith. we made the assumption, bold as it was, that keeping high- capacity firearms out of the hands of criminals might reduce violence. violence was reduced. police did a lot of things. we changed our strategy. we embraced accountability systems. we worked very hard. we work closely with the community. we put a lot of guys in jail. we started recovering fewer assault rifles. is there a correlation? yes. it depends how you want to spin the data. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chairman.
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i would like to begin by thanking the victims of violence who have come here and the members of law enforcement. i would like to thank you for your service on the front lines and to the victims of violence, i express the deepest sympathies that law enforcement was not able to prevent the horrific crimes you suffered. i have two little girls. i cannot imagine the suffering you are experiencing now. i have spent much of my adult life in law enforcement working to deter violent criminals and insure those who commit violent crimes of violence faced the very strictest of punishment. i am sorry for each of the victims here today who lost loved ones, that the system did
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not work to protect your loved ones and prevent the loss of life. this is an issue that touches on a lot of emotions. i would suggest an approach, that, in my view, should guide the senate's treatment. it is an approach that we should target our efforts to violent criminals. we should not target our efforts to needlessly restricting the constitutional liberties of law- abiding citizens. in gun control, there are a variety of proposals discussed. some, the evidence demonstrates, are cosmetic and they allow politicians to say, we are acting, but the evidence does not support they have any efficacy. others present a real threat on intruding on the liberties of law-abiding citizens.
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i want to start on the assault weapons ban. you said there had not been enough study on the assault weapons ban. a very similar law was in effect for roughly a decade. the department of justice has funded at least three studies of whether that bill had any positive effect. in 1999, the study concluded it failed to reduce. in 2004, it was concluded the assault weapons ban produced no discernible reduction in the lethality and luxury isthmus of gun violence. in 1997, the study that was already discussed likewise concluded. are you aware of any compelling an empirical data to the contrary?
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we have three studies that included the prior band had no effect. are you aware of empirical data to the contrary? >> let me say two things. it is an important question to ask. my understanding of what those studies said is a statistical analysis had not statistically established no fat. it is a fine point but an important one. the doctor who led the studies in each of those studies most recently came out with a january 2013 update description of his studies and thoughts for the future. he indicated he thought an argument could be made that, over time, if the assault weapon ban have continued to be coupled with a high-capacity magazine then, the combination
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of those things might have had a 5% effect. >> if i understand your answer, you did not point to any empirical data that demonstrates it had any effect whatsoever on violent crime. is that correct? >> not conclusive evidence it had an effect. i think the empirical data dr. copper is referring to, he believed there was a suggestion that on the margin, there was an impact. it was not necessarily statistically significant, that he could tell from his work. there were two areas i think are important to keep in mind, statistically, if i can risk that. one is there is good evidence assault weapons are used disproportionately in attacks
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with multiple victims and victims' with multiple wounds. secondly, there is good evidence to suggest assault weapons are used disproportionately on an attack on law officers. those would justify we proceed with the assault weapons ban. >> there was early discussion about causation and correlation. according to the bjs, 1993 to 2001, there were 611 homicides per year average with assault rifles. in 2010, 358, a little more than half. in 2011, 323. that is without the assault weapons ban in place. would you agree that that does not suggest the assault weapons
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ban had any significant efficacy and reducing violent crime? >> if we go back and look at the studies, the conclusion of dr. copper and his colleagues was there were multiple factors pulling into that. over the same time, we were seeing a reduction of violent crime overall in the united states, which also impacted it. the simple answer is, i am not an expert in that area. it is fair to say the effectiveness of the original assault weapons ban was mixed. there were some areas where the department of justice believes there was a positive effect in reducing the total number of victims. if the ban were extended and not made to sunset after 10 years, over time, we could see an improvement.
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>> my time has expired. i hope we can discuss how the department of justice and law enforcement can target violent criminals directly rather than either legislation that the data suggests has no material affect, or legislation that would strip law-abiding citizens. instead, we should be targeting a violent criminals. that is what will protect people's lives. >> thank you. >> thank you for your leadership on this difficult and enormously emotional issue on every side. i have been doing a lot of thinking and soul-searching the last several months. i spent a lot of time traveling around minnesota, talking with my constituents about this issue. what i am hearing is people want us to take action to reduce gun violence and to make our communities safer.
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they want us to honor the second amendment and respect minnesota's culture of responsible gun ownership. so there is balance to be struck here. i focus on mental health issues. while continually underscoring how important it is not to stigmatize mental illness. the vast majority of people who are mentally ill are no more violent than the general population. if we are going to make mental health a part of this, let's make it more than a talking point. let's do something to improve the access to treatment for children and adults. today, we are talking about assault weapons. to prepare for the hearing, i went back and read the record from the last two hearings. one of the arguments we have heard is that assault weapons
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are needed for self-defense. a witness at our first hearing gave us a list of more than 20 instances in which guns were used in self-defense. i have not seen any evidence that any of those cases involved an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine. rather than presenting real cases as evidence for the record, that these weapons are needed for self-defense, witnesses and members of this committee have asked us to imagine hypothetical situations where someone needs an assault weapon or more than 10 rounds for self-defense. i can imagine those hypothetical cases.
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i am not sure what value that holds. but i do not have to imagine someone using a 30-round magazine or several to kill 20 children. because that happened. i do not have to imagine a deranged man using a 100-round clip to kill 12 people in a movie theater. that happened. i do not have to imagine a mad man firing 33 rounds on interrupted at a grocery store parking lot, killing six people, including a little girl. and wounding 13 others. including a member of congress. that happened. i do not have to a match and a mad man with an extended clip slaughtering people because that happened. i have a responsibility to make informed decisions. we owe it to all americans to address this emotional issue with a healthy regard for reality and the truth.
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if we ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines, will we save lives? that is the real question. it is not easy. we have been discussing this data. in previous hearings, we were told a 1997 independent study commissioned by the clinton justice department, the one just discussed, we were told it proved the last assault weapons ban had no affect on crime.
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that it proved it. mr. walsh, your testimony addresses that study. do the studies prove, as we have been told, that the assault weapons ban was ineffective? or do they show something else? >> if i may begin with the earlier 1990's-era study, the initial conclusion was that there was potentially up to a 6.7% reduction in gun murders as a result of the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazine bam. in subsequent analysis, the authors did not prove that was statistically significant here they were trying to be thoughtful and very precise about the amount of evidence
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they had. >> this was done only on one- year's data, because it was 1997. they said our best estimate is that the ban contributed to a decrease in total gun murders between 1994 and 1995. beyond what would have been expected in view of on going crime, demographic, and economic trends. that is a quote. i think this is very important. because you cannot prove something is statistically valid, that does not prove it did not happen. in fact, unless you cherry pick sentences, you can cherry pick others.
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an honest reading is not that this proved this did not have efficacy. it did not prove that all. >> if i could add two other points relevant, since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, studied by the police executive research forum in 2010 found 37% of police departments reported an increase in criminals' use of assault weapons again since the time of the ban expiring, as well as a 38% increase in the use of those weapons, also using high- capacity magazines, those with more than 10 rounds. there is evidence subsequent to that that the prevalence of these weapons and their use in crime is rising, which is something we should be concerned about, as well. >> thank you. >> thank you for both of you
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for being with us today and for your service to the country. i appreciate what you do. we have all been horrified by acts of mass violence. including and especially those that have occurred in recent memory. i do not think there is a person here in this room or anyone watching on television who does not want to find a way to end or at least diminish incidence of gun violence. there are a number of factors at play in our society and culture. they have created an environment in which gun violence has regrettably -- i worry at times if we rush to quickly into enacting gun ownership restrictions, that could cause problems. first, because it could give
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the american people a basis for concluding congress could put an end to this just by legislating. experience in this area and others taught us we cannot fix everything through legislation. there has been a suggestion made today, some indication by the evidence, that there is at least a mixed record. an absence of certain proof as to the efficacy of gun ownership laws in the past. perhaps more importantly, i worry about what some of the gun control measures we have been discussing might do to the rights of law-abiding citizens. some people may obey the law regardless of what it says and some people might disregard it regardless of what it says. we always have to be on the lookout for the law-abiding. whenever we enact laws, it is those people whose liberty is diminished.
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it is those people whose options are constrained by what we do here. i focused a lot on those people. in this hearing, we are provided with an opportunity to discuss whether the assault weapons ban of 2013 will alleviate gun violence without diminishing the rights of those people. i would like to talk to you about this a little bit. in your written testimony, you state magazines with more than 10 rounds are not necessary for self defense because the majority of such shootings occur at close range. and my understanding your written testimony? >> that is certainly included. >> let's assume you are correct the majority of self-defense shootings to occur at close range. what might this mean for those minority of instances in which law abiding citizens might use
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a gun in self-defense in long- range situations? can we ignore the impact that any laws we adopt might have on persons who need more than 10 rounds to legitimately and lawfully defend themselves and their families or the needs of those people who might need a longer range approach to self- defense? >> i think it is a good question. self-defense is the core of the second amendment protection. we acknowledge and want to honor that. i have a couple thoughts. part of the reason most self- defense incidents occur at close range is that when you have an assailant at longer range, you can leave the scene or call in for assistance.
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i would differ to the police chiefs sitting at my side for the details. that is important to keep in mind. there is a reason why the close range incidences are more common. the evidence that i have seen suggests the vast majority of self-defense incidents involve one or two shots fired, if any. i will tell you in my personal experience as an assistant u.s. attorney, i am not aware of any specific self-defense incident in which a potential victim needed to fire more than one shot. there could be a circumstance under which that took place.
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in that scenario, i agree with you. there is a potential, marginal effect on that person's ability to defend themselves. i am not aware of those instances happening. >> i appreciate that. i see my time is running out. there was a 1995 study of the use of guns in self-defense. i understand the study concluded that in almost half of the instances in which a victim
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was attacked and used a gun in self-defense, there were at least two attackers. in nearly 25% of those situations, there were three or more attackers. even at close range, would it not be helpful if not critical, in those instances, would that not be helpful to have an ammunition magazine with more than 10 rounds? >> i am not sure i am familiar with the study you are referring to. i know there were statistics
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that were going around related not to armed assaults but to assaults with firearms, but assaults by assailants that were not all armed. i would need to have a chance to look at that. to answer your question directly, the fact is if someone were confronted with three assailants armed with firearms, i suppose there is a hypothetical scenario under which having more than 10 rounds of the magazine would be of some marginal assistance. as i say, i am not aware of any such assistance happening where somebody has required more than 10 shots. >> thank you. i would like to thank the two panelists. i did not use all of my time. the intent of the bill in 2004 was to dry up supply over time. the sunset had to be added. we came through the senate in a bear margin. 51 votes on a motion to table. the sunset was critical to getting those votes. point two, the gun manufacturers took the two characteristics and crafted weapons to get around it. the third point is that this is really an important issue of public policy. these weapons could also, by virtue of their construction, be held at the hip and spray fired. that makes them just lethal with the increased velocity, as you pointed out, in a rifle. i really appreciate your frankness. i appreciate you being here. the city you served is very lucky. mr. prosecutor, you have fantastic retention.
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i really thank you for your service to our country. oh, senator blumenthal, take some extra time. i am so sorry. >> thank you. i know in the senate, freshmen senators are supposed to be seen and not heard. i am happy to be heard today. [laughter] i want to begin by thanking you, madam chairman, for your courage over many years, you're consistent advocacy for this assault weapons ban. you have been strong. the blunt fact is this issue was thought to be politically untouchable two months ago. we would not be here today without the horrific newtown tragedy. i want to begin by asking my fellow citizens of connecticut,
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most specifically of the members of the newtown committee, as well as the families who have victims, to please stand so we can thank you publicly for your courage and strength in this extraordinary historic moment. thank you. >> let's give them a round of applause. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> i want to thank my colleague, who was here earlier. he had another hearing. he has been a very active member of his team. there was extraordinary evil in newtown on december 14 of last year. there was also extraordinary heroism. part of it was in fact the law
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enforcement officers who went to the school, charged into the building, and thereby prevented even more deaths because the shooter turned the gun on himself when he knew police were on the scene. i want to begin by thanking our law enforcement officers who are on the front lines every day. we have two of our most distinguished in the country. thank you for being here. thank you for your eloquent and powerful testimony today. it was also the courage and strength of the newtown community. the ph.d.'s and statisticians and lawyers may debate the numbers, but the second simple, blunt fact is that some or all
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of those 20 beautiful children and educators would be alive today if assault weapons had been banned, along with high- capacity magazines. some of the victims in tucson would be alive today, including 9-year-old christina taylor. the fact is we need a comprehensive strategy. nobody here is saying and assault weapons ban, were a prohibition on high-capacity magazines, will end gun violence. we are choosing to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. the fact is, i would agree with you totally that what we see in our nation is mass murder committed as a result of gun violence.
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i differ only to say it is not slow motion. it is escalating. it is rapid fire. 1900 people have been killed since newtown as the result of gun violence. i want to began by asking you, chief flynn, what is it that leads you to feel the men and women on your force are outgunned by these assault weapons? >> i carried a six shooter the first years of my career. in the last 20 years, we have been in an arms race. i had to start farming my officers with assault weapons in cruisers to start to protect themselves. that is not where we were. >> their body armor won't protect them.
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>> we have to constantly upgrade the body armor and offer them the opportunity to wear metal plates. i had the opportunity on september 11, 2001. i was the police chief in arlington, virginia. that is where the pentagon was. what i learned that day is if this country takes 3000 innocent victims, it takes major steps to alter itself. nobody has boarded an airplane the same way since. we have taken steps to keep it out of the hands of those who would kill us. i have wandered frequently how many people have to get murdered for it to be enough. i have been wrong time after time. but i have little kids at home. is 20 babies enough? that is what we're asking for.
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when with that gun hot -- when was the gun bought? >> i know the chairwoman will perhaps in those new one more question. >> i will. >> i am a law enforcement guy, too. i was a state law enforcement person. i had your job and to connecticut. nobody in law enforcement efforts things we are doing enough. nobody ever says we can go home and stop trying to do better. as much as we may agree with you that the united states department of justice and local and state police forces are trying to enforce these laws as aggressively as possible, i think you need more resources and criminal background checks so you can no -- you can know
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how to keep these weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them. criminals, domestic and users, the severely mentally ill. would you agree that the criminal background check expansion to the private sale as well as possibly ammunition sales are way to enforce the existing law? so that you know before those weapons are purchased along with trafficking prohibition that we can keep those guns out of the hands of people who should not have them? >> the majority of fire arms are bought legally, not stolen. bought outside the regular fire arms dealers. six of my officers were shot with guns illegally block and to the same fire arms dealer. that is intolerable. the purpose of background checks is to keep guns out of
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the hands of criminals, not to create millions of additional prosecutions. those checks chart. if we could extend them to the gun shows, we could keep them out the hands of criminals as well as the criminally insane. >> and perhaps we can stop them from buying ammunition after they have those guns. would you agree? >> certainly trade >> which you agree, attorney walsh? >> yesterday that would keep the american people safe. after columbine, colorado ty take up own background check -- colorado tookup its own background check. that has proven to be affected. of course you cannot stop everything. >> taking very much. -- thank you very muhc.
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>> taking very much. senator, you have one question? >> september 21, 2011, the atf issued an open letter to all federal firearms licensees regarding transfer of our arms and ammunition to individuals of tourist -- to individuals of the restaurant open letter states the users of medical marijuana, even if authorized by state law or apprehended from possessing firearms because they are considered unlawful users of controlled substances under federal law and because the state recently passed a mammoth 64, i come to this question. dealing with just that subject. will you prosecute individuals
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who use marijuana in colorado and possess firearms as a violation of 60 -- as a violation? have you prosecuted anyone for violating the section based solely on medical marijuana use? >> as to whether we will prosecute people of all with medical marijuana who or possessing firearms. the answer is yes, we have. we have a case out the boulder county where an individual was engaged in a grove of marijuana and possessed a variety of weapons, including nasty street supporters -- street sweepers. prosecuting individuals solely because they had a fire on a
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news merit -- and use medical marijuana, we have to look at those cases individually. the guide as we have received from the apartment is generally speaking, it is not the best use of our federal resources to go after individual patients who may be using medical marijuana. >> iowa like to ask the next panel to come for. -- i would like to ask the next panel to come forward.
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please take your seats. people like to begin -- we would like to begin. >> thank you, madam chairman garymy thanks for -- thank you, madam chairman. i did not know whether you want to administer the oath. >> i will. in the interest of time, i was going to -- >> i would be happy to introduce them before if he would like.
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>> if the witnesses would stand. do you confirmed the testimony will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. please be seated. >> to keep both for being here. -- thank you both for being here. when i went to the sandy hook fire house on the day of the shooting, i went as a public official but what i saw was to the eyes of a parent. i saw the after math and impact of unimaginable horror and evil. the was also a lot of hair was on that day. not the least from a gentleman like yourself ahead and their families who were there. in your case, doctor, to help save lives.
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and to learn about the loss of your son. to introduce you first, mr. heslin, i know you lost your son jesse who was 6 years old and attended sandy hook elementary school . i know that as recently as yesterday, you want to be here to try to make sure netwon never happens again. -- newtown never happens again. we have much to thank you for being here today. your courage is an inspiration. dr. begg, you were born and raised in connecticut. you decided to go into medicine after your father passed away following a medical mistake.
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while studying at johns hopkins, you were voted the top president bush to the top resident. during your residency, you did a clerkship at the maryland shock trauma institute then went to work at fort drum. you are currently president of the medical staff at bamberg hospital. i know you were in newtown that day at the danbury hospital where you were the er physician on duty when some of the children were brought to the hospital and emergency room. i thank you for your efforts on that tragic day. after testifying today. -- and for testifying today. >> we are honored to hear your
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comments. >> my son -- i am jesse lewis' dad. he was brutally murdered at sandy hook school. december 14. 20 minutes after i dropped him off. this picture was taken when he was 6 months old. and it was our first christmas together. the picture over there is a picture six months before his death. that is his class picture from last year.
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jesse was lot of my life. he was the only family i have left. it is hard for me to be here today talking about my deceased son. but i have to. i am not here for the sympathy and a pat on the back. i am here to speak up for my son. there are many changes that have to happen to make change affected. mental-health issues, better background checks, bans on these weapons have high-capacity magazines. they all have to come together and work effectively.
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common sense tells you that. weapon. anyone that can argue that isn't being honest. jesse was 6 half years old. -- 6 and half years old. the day he was born was the happiest day of my life. the saddiest day of my life was december 14. i waited in that firehouse until 1:00 in the morning, 12:30 until i knew that jesse was confirmed dead. senator blumenthal was there, governor malloy, the other congressman from connecticut along with the police and the first responders.
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i have a bond with them that will last a lifetime. no person should have to go through what myself and any of the other victim's families had to deal with and had do go through and what the town of newtown had to go through. on the morning of december 14, jesse and i stopped at a dellly and got his -- deli and we got his favorite sandwich. we always do that that. i get a coffee and jesse got what he called a coffee but it was a hot chocolate. it was 9:04 when i dropped jesse off. the school clock -- jesse gave me a hug and a kiss at that time and said good-bye, i love you.
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he stopped and said i love mom too. that was the last i saw of jesse as he ducked around the corner. prior to that, when he was getting out of the truck he hugged me and held me and i can still feel that hug and the pat on the back. he said everything is going to be ok dad. it is all going to be ok. and it wasn't ok. i had to go home that night to an empty house. something that shouldn't have ever happened at an elementary school. people argue about the second
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amendment, how the second amendment is well-regulated militia to bear arms. freedom of state, it hasn't been well regulated. it is not being weg regulated. -- well regulated. i read over -- it is not about taking the weapons from the owners, it is putting a ban on the manufacturing and curving the sale of them. it is not hurting the sportsman, it is not hurting the gun owners now. i fully support the second amendment and i fully support the sportsman and the hunters.
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i grew up with firearms. i started skeet shooting with my father when i was 8 years old. in my teen years i was state championship. i achieved a level of markmansship. i have a knowledge of weapons, including military weapons. shootingarticipate in or hunting anymore. i had a young boy and i devoted my life to him. the same day that jesse passed away, five days before that my mother passed away. jesse had an interest in military. jesse had an interest in guns and asked a lot of questions about them. strange enough the night before he perished, he was looking at a survival magazine.
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in that magazine, there were three weapons on one page. i had to go back the following day to look at that. but i quickly looked at it that night but it was an assault weapon and two handguns. he asked me about the weapons and i explained what they were used for and their capability. it was a high-velocity high- range cartridge used by the military. his response was to the weapon or gun used to kill people and i said yes, jesse, that is what it is used for.
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jesse had a bebe gun and i got it for him for christmas. i taught him gun safety and he was proficient with it and knew the gun safety precautions. he could recite them to you. the same way i could when i was his age. it breaks my heart that something like that could happen in this country. i walked past the capitol this morning, the capitol police three feet from me, what is he holding? an assault weapon. protecting us today. a weapon similar to that was brought into an elementary school, sandy hook connecticut and killed 20 students and six educators.
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i just can't believe that could happen.
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distinguished mayor nutter of philadelphia. >> all the members of this committee, i'm the mayor of the city of philadelphia.
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i'm honored to have the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of the nation's mayors to discuss the importance of passing the assaults weapon ban of 2013. while we support several billions being considered by this committee, we have made passage of the assaults weapon ban of 2013 our top priority. gun violence has been perm for you, senator feinstein and it has been personal for me. the first police officer my city lost after i became mayor was killed by an ak-47 or sk-47 assault-time weapon when he responded to a bank robbery on a saturday morning. i will never forget that day. a 12-year veteran with the philadelphia police officer. he was 39 years old. he left a wife and three children.
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neither police officers nor our citizens, and especially our children should be confronted with these weapons on the streets, in our schools, in our movie theaters, shopping mall, in our places of worship or other civilian settings. gun violence has also been personal for neil who is here on this table for w us today. on a personal note, it is my personal feeling that some of the statements made today have been passionately disrespectful to jesse and all others at newtown and many other cities across the country. [applause] he has been visited by every parents' nightmare. with his help, we can secure legislation that will spare other parents and other young children of the unimaginable
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pain of a life lost by a weapon designed for mass killing. the tragedy at sandy hook elementary school that killed 20 young children and six educators remains incomprehensible to all of us. too many times mayors have expressed shock at mass shootings. many of us must cope with the gun violence that occurs on our streets daily. citizens have been killed on philadelphia streets by handguns with high-capacity magazines as well as rifles and shotguns. to me, and to america's mayors, these are weapons of mass destruction and they are destroying our communities, our streets, our citizens and our females. the u.s. conference of mayors have been calling for sensible gun safety laws to protect the
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public for more than 40 years. our call on a ban of assault weapons dates back to 1981. we have done that because of the tremendous toll that gun violence takes on the american people day in and day out. every day in the united states of america, 282 people are shot, 86 die, including 32 who are murdered. every day, every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die, including five who are murdered. gun violence disproportionately affects urban areas. our nation's 50 largest areas have cities and those cities account for 15% of the population but 39% of gun-related murderers and 29% of homicide. philadelphia, like many major
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cities have struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent success as employing police techniques, deaths due to gun violence have not fallen. let me use one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year, in philadelphia the number of shooting victims was 1,282. this is down considerably from the year before. it was the lowest number since we began tracking shooting victims in the year 2000. however, the number of homicide victims was up slightly, seven more than in 2011. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is homicide victims have more bullets killing them. there are more rounds being fired than head shots.
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victims are bleeding out because when you're hit with eight, 10, 12, or 15 shots, if even you do not hit a major artistry you will bleed out in the streets or by the time you get to the hospital. when someone is shot in philadelphia or many other cities, sometimes they are more likely to die from the volume of rounds that hit them than anything else. i would note that pennsylvania, does not have strict gun regulations. when the city adopted the gun laws a few years ago our state supreme courting struck those laws down. that's why we need federal legislation. cities alone cannot reduce gun violence. we're doing everything we can but we're still losing the battle thanks to the proliferation of guns in our nation. philadelphia's story is not unique.
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mayors everywhere use scarce resources to fight gun violence, resources we should be using to educate our children. a letter sent three days after the newtown tragedy occurred and it calls on the president and congress to take immediate action and make changes to our gun laws and regulations. first is enact to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. i ask that you include that letter in the record for this hearing. >> so ordered. >> mayors who are protecting the cities, it is our highest responsibilities. >> it is more than passing sensible gun laws. we also know that we cannot keep our cities safe unless we pass
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such laws. your assault weapons ban bill is common sense legislation that will help us reduce the number of people, including police officers, who are shot and killed in our cities and throughout our nation. this legislation deserves a vote. this legislation deserves to be passed by this committee, by the senate, and by the house so president obama can sign it into law. i know we'll take an act of political courage for many members of congress to support an assault weapons ban of 2013 but the time for courage is now. how many more children, how many more police officers do we have to lose for our elected representatives to do the right thing? please take action now in the interest of the most important special interest groups in america, all of american. >> thank you very much.
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it is very much appreciated. i would like to, did you treat sandy hook victims? >> yes. i was in the e.r. that day when the victims came in. >> can you describe the kinds of wounds and the number of bullets in these small bodies? >> there's privacy rules in hippa that prevent me from detailing the type of wounds. but most of the victims didn't come in when you have such
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horrific injuries to little bodies, they don't make it to the hospital. the coroner from the state of connecticut, he stated that each body had three-11 bullets. when a child has three-111 bullets and it is an assault-type bullet and it does not go in a straight line, it goes through and it opens up. that is not a survival injury. so with respect to the families who lost loved ones and have them come into the emergency room and hippa rules i can't describe the specifics. but hopefully, i did paint a picture of what went on. >> did you have something that you wanted to show us? >> there's a video that is about one minute.
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it is to highlight the difference between a bullet that went into a body versus a handgun and abassault weapon. it just demonstrates the destruction between the two. >> you can barely see it. it did not exit the block. this is the right side of the block and it is turned upside down. we have a narrow channel where this came in about 4 inches, 3.5-4 inches. i actually lost the track or channel at about the 8 inch mark. this rifle is the ar 15, 24 inch barrel it is currently dialed in at 200 yards.
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there's the point of impact. didn't knock it off the table. a little bit right of where i wanted that to be but that is me, that is not the ammo. my tests prior to this were on target. i cut down right across the top of the block where i thought the wound channel might be and nailed it exactly. the first thing you notice is that deepest penetration point did not go more than 5 inches but there is a story in this area here. when the bullet started to expand and then massive expansion, you see that big track there. in that case, it is going up and down and to the sides.
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bullet fragments all over the place and some jagged fragments as well. i was hoping to find that tip, there it is right there in the middle. you can see it in the cavern. the other track looks the same. that is the real story. look at this massive cavity in this area. >> so the first portion of the video represents like a .22 handgun so the bullet goes in on a straight line track. where the second video, represents what happens with an assault rifle-type bullet and explodes inside the body. it causes more damage. in the military and that's the type of goal you have. but to have this in civilian
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population is -- i don't understand. that's the point of the video. >> thank you very much. i appreciate it. >> i get where you're coming from. you see a lot of things that most people never see. mayor, what percentage of violent deaths involving a firearm in your city that are a result result of handguns versus rifles? >> thank you, senator. in 2012, 331 murders occurred in philadelphia. consistently over the last 10 years, murder has been committed with a gun or other hand gun or rifle type weapon. anywhere from 82-85% of murders are committed with a gun in
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philadelphia. >> nationally according to the 2011 numbers, 2.5% of homicides were committed with some form of a rifle. is that vastly different in philadelphia? >> i do have some numbers. a lot about the national picture. 331 murders last year, 282 committed with a handgun. 2 with a shotgun. this year, we have had 31 murders. 37% year to date. 25 with handguns, 2 with a shotgun, including yesterday morning. jennifer fit patrick, 37, mother of four tariff killed by her ex- boyfriend -- jennifer fitzpa trick, 37, mother of 4, killed
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by her ex-boyfriend. gun violence in major cities, i would only suggest handgun, rifle, shotgun -- dead is dead. >> i cannot agree with you more. the reason we have hearings like this is to paint a picture for america the problem we are trying to solve. i do not know what percentage of deaths are called by rifles and the philadelphia but nationally, it is to 0.5%. mr. hardy, you have done research on american ownership of ar 15s. do you think it would be a commonly used weapon? >> i believe it would be a weapon of common use at the time. the first research i included
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was 22% of all american rifle production is devoted to the ar 15 platform. those are companies that only make ar 15s. then you have other companies that make that and other arms. but back to the background check, he is not into chasing paper. if you have 76,000 people fail and background check and only 13 people plead guilty, i am not sure we are sending the right signal to our citizens at large that we are really serious about trying to get it. 19% of the people who failed the background check birth egotist from justice.
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my point is if we are only -- we should be going after those folks. no matter how you feel about guns. we should be going after those folks. is this legislation, would it require a background check if i sold the gun to my neighbor? >> i do not know this bill specifically relates to that but proposals i have seen would say yes, you would have to go through a dealer. >> about self-defense, you familiar with the case in atlanta? entered a-- a man house with a crowbar. the mother was at home with two daughters. she took them up to the second
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floor and hit in a closet. the intruder followed up and open the closet door. she had a big shot revolver, was on the phone with her husband. she hit him fiver six times -- five or six times. in a situation like that, would you object to the mother having a 20 mt. clip? >> no. and i am familiar with it. i heard about it. the question i had was if you follow them upstairs, what was his intent? >> we will never know what he was up to. it ended in a way with the family was safe. we all agree to no one who is mentally unstable to have one bullet with any gun. the point is how to make sure we balance keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people abbas
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to just in some situations, six bullets is not enough for a person defending their family and one bullet in the hands of the wrong person is way too many. that is what we are trying to accommodate here. there is a debate about self- defense. if there is a natural disaster somewhere, there are three homes. a home without a gun, with a shotgun and with an ar-15. if there is a gain of roaming around the neighborhood, what home is best protected in a situation like that? >> i would say the one with the go15, but you don't have to to a hypothetical. i have been in a situation where you need it it, i live miles from the mexican border.
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i was within 5 miles with a rancher were working on a court case. he had a pistol, i had a pistol and an ar-15 in the car and i felt under armed. if you encounter a drug cartel, you will need more than that. >> vice president biden has made the case that if you live in a wooded area and have a double barrel shot gun to ward off the bad guys, outside and fire a couple of shots. he also said that there is a national disaster, a shotgun is a preferred weapon over the ar- 15 for self-defense. i would say reasonable people can disagree on that. >> thank you center. u, senator.
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i like to try to keep the time line. senator durbin. correct thinking. i listened to the arguments on the other side. he said let's not rush into this to quickly two years ago and member of the united states house of representatives was shot in the face in tucson. we did not even hold a hearing on that. do not rush into this too quickly. when you look at what is happening in city after city, we are not rushing into this too quickly. we are coming into late for a lot of these victims. the second point made by some argue against the effort, laws are going to solve all the problems. many people just disregard whatever we do.
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no law is going to solve all the problems. today people are speeding on highways despite laws saying they should not theory does that mean we do not try? we do not make an effort at this? the thing that bothered me the most with the argument we have to take care and be careful to protect the rights all law abiding citizens. to protect the rights of law- abiding citizens. mr. heslin, i walked into the room when that video was on. there were people up there using ar-15s. flashed on the screen right after one of them was the word "fun." i thought about that. and i thought about your rights. to be safe, in a schoolroom a in newtown, connecticut. what about the rights of the law abiding citizens who wear
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uniforms every day, who put their lives on the line for us? what about their rights? gett they have rights least equal to these under the second amendment? this is not an absolute right inside the professor johnson, i had been through law school a long time ago and law professors can dance around the top of the head of a pan. but when i listen to describe the senate amendment, it is a suicide pact. by your definition, what has been common in america is unacceptable in a civilized country. [applause] >> i made it very different point, senator. >> if it is, in america to have a military assault weapon with a 100 round magazine, god save this country. >> i made a point about irrational -- [applause]
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>> to respond? my point was this legislation would make things worse on the measure of people who support it. it cannot be sustained ultimately. the supreme court will look at these classifications. >> let's read what they said. they said -- the court held the second amendment preserves access to firearms in common use and not dangerous or unusable for the purpose of self-defense. are you ordering the ar-15 -- the ar-15 is at ing common weapon used for self- defense? you have been excluded by heller. >> the point of this analysis conducted in 2009 was there is a necessity for creating a
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category of exceptional is them to reclaim the ar-15 -- feeding a category of the exceptional was some -- creating a category of exceptionalism. all the claims made are better demonstrated by the shotgun. if you go before the supreme court with that what you would have is a piece of legislation that generates more demand for the type of gun you are trying to ban that ultimately he will have the same failure. >> my time is running out. i believe this chair has made a good-faith effort. if you look at the number of weapons in exception to her categories, there is no law- abiding sportsmen are hunter or person who wants a gun for self-
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defense who would be left on armed under the second amendment in illinois or anywhere in the united states. there is ample opportunity for applying the second amendment. the court said the could be reasonable in drawing these standards. this is not feel good legislation. i am sorry you use that phrase. i cannot feel good about being here today. we are trying to make this country sick and we are giving our best effort. >> i understand as someone who has a husband at judiciary square. i also understand that the criminals by definition cannot all but a lot. when you take away the guns people have to protect themselves, law-abiding citizens are left on arms. >> i am sure you will support universal background checks. >> if you want to fix that
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system first, i would love to have an opportunity to discuss that with the. -- that with you. >> thank you. i want to thank all the witnesses for being here today. jesse sounds like he was a remarkable young boy. in your testimony, i read that the last words he said were run or run now.
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and that he was shot -- >> he was shot two times in the head. that was not the fatal shot. he was one of five students in his class killed. 10 of those students survive. it was stated by several surviving student debt jesse yelled "run, run now." >> he was coming -- >> the fatal shot was in his forehead. it exited behind the hairline.
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he looked at adam lanza in the ye eye. he did not run, he did not turn his back. >> i wanted thank you for your courage to be here a dentist by of how painful it is. you and your family, all the families here. we are trying to do what we can do to save lives. i talked about this in my opening statement.
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imagine this, i imagine that. so far in the record, i have not seen one example of an ar-15 used for self-defense. i have been asked to imagine it. to a match in hypothetical situations and i can but i have not heard one example on the record. this is the third hearing. mayor nutter, as the understand it -- as i understand it, police
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are more often targeted by assault weapons than the victims of assault weapons. what is the reality? >> the idea these weapons are for self-defense is based on our -- based on our experience is of certification. they are self offensive weapons. someone come pull out from wherever they want to pull it out from a . to weeks ago, a guy came in to rob a store. the owner was in the back. the guide pointed the gun at his wife, pulled off the ground and the owner shot the individual with his gun. he did not have an ar-15.
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from time to time, these things happen. what we see on the streets, when he was shot without assault type weapon, it almost cut him in half. his fellow officers had to drag him and place him in a car and watched him to the hospital. i was in that hospital with his family, holding his wife, talking to his kids. and sang to them, i'm sorry, he did not make it. to them, i amtsaying sorry, he did not make it. two guys shot him with an
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automatic weapon. i have to talk to his mother about that. patrick mcdonald, shot multiple times with a weapon with a person standing over him. after having been shot in the head by that person, not down and jump back up to do with the criminal. but as the reality. this is not theory. this is not a case study. people died. that's what happens. i go to every hospital scene. i have mothers without their sons who serve us. wives without their husbands. that is the reality of what is going on.
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no one has ever been able to explain why a civilian should have is military-style assault weapon and for anything other than the military or law enforcement. i have never heard a legitimate explanation. [applause] >> my thanks to all the witnesses here today for your testimony. dr. begg, my objective and many of my colleagues here today is to show that your mom is right. this time is different. we will do something. the reason is different is that newtown changed america. if change to me and you and
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others here today. -- it changed me and you and others here today. mayor nutter, no city can do it alone. our state borders are as well. that is why we have led the effort to stop illegal trafficking because a national standard is required. but has been a lot of debate about statistics and numbers. we do not have enough research on gun violence in this country. opponents of gun violence protection have placed restrictive constraints on the research that can be done by federal agencies began
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collecting and analyzing research about gun violence. research has been barred by restrictions placed by congress. do any of you feel we have enough research and we should not do any more on the issue of gun violence? i am asking whether anybody disagrees we need more research. >> i agree we need more research. this is a public health issue. 30,000 people a year die. the top four reasons -- cancer, heart attack, strok and traume. e and trauma. the data out there is clear. if you own a gun, you are five
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times as likely to die from suicide or to have your partner kill you. we need more research. >> i defended our assault weapon ban in connecticut and won. the vast majority, i did not know of any court in differing with the rulings made by a federal court on the assault weapon ban that existed before 2004, upheld it. do you know of any decision by a district court that strike down an assault weapon ban? >> make a distinction between me pre-heller world and now? do you know of a letter written by 50 constitutional law professors including people like
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eric's are -- like eric po sner that say restrictions on the manufacture and sale of high capacity ammunition magazines and assault weapons are also consistent with the second amendment. >> i am aware of that letter and i know many of the folks on that list. but most did not spend more than a couple of hours kinking about this issue. i have spent decades on this. >> let me ask another question. i am sure they would differ on the amount of time is spent thinking about this issue before they signed the letter. >> it is about whether they
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thought this through. with all the respect, in the arguments i have done before the united states supreme court defending state statute and sometimes the action of state officials, the first two propositions out of my mouth where the courts have a responsibility to deem constitutional, september jim -- to deem constitutionally valid act of the legislature. and legislators are not required to solve all the problems at once. they can take incremental steps. i would submit that the rational basis test, whether an assault
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weapon ban and prohibition on high-capacity magazine is rationally related to the end of preventing gun violence is sufficiently established by the testimony we have had here today. a decision by court striking down the statute that has been proposed would be deemed constitutionally incoherent. you have used that word incoherent. to describe the legislation that has been proposed here. i think that is disrespectful to the committee. i think it is plain wrong.
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if you have suggestions for how to improve its, and this goes for any of the members of this panel, we would welcome it. our ultimate objective is to help save lives. the kind of carson has been described so eloquently by mayor nutter and mr. flynn and mr. heslin. as many articles as you and attorney hardy may have written, i do not think you have had the personal experience firsthand of seeing how dangerous these weapons are. my hope is perhaps you will be
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more supportive. and think america is on our side on this issue. america knows this time is different. [applause] >> could i respond? may.s, you make your >-- you >> we are not on different sides. we are all trying to figure out how best to be safe. my explicit testimony referenced the joint service combat shotgun program report. my point was with respect to the incoherence that the claims being made by the committee and others that justified the prohibited category were better descriptions of guns in the non prohibited category. that is the incoherent i am describing. that kind of incoherence, and classification whose justification's, will not hold justification's is the point of
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the rational basis. the other thing to point out about the heller decision, it requires more than rational basis. it is not an automatic deference to whatever legislature does. now we're talking about a constitutional right. we end up with the supreme court potentially looking at this question, making a determination about whether these distinctions and classifications between the ar-15 and all the things on a good gun list, whether they are rational. at the court says, they are says you will have legislation that has accelerated in a gym at equate the purchases and number in inventory of that gun you're trying to eliminate. >> thank you very much. >> i recognize we will be
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evicted from his room but i am sure we will continue this conversation and i hope it is continued constructively helping to prevent gun violence. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. i want to say couple of things. i drafted the earlier legislation in 1993. i believe it did make a difference. i do believe it did just begin to dry up the supply. i think it would be judged, this piece of legislation, constitutional. the prior piece of legislation went to the 4th, 6th and 9th circuit and the d.c. circuit. it was sustained everywhere. even with heller, i see no
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regular use of an ar-15, a common use in society. it may be a small group of people that use it for target practice or god forbid for hunting. but the irreparable damage that is done to bodies from this weapon and other high velocity rifles, that hears people's bodies apart, i do not know why as a matter of public policy we cannot say they do not belong. is this legislationno this. well i welcome help -- is this legislation perfect? no. do i welcome help? if you have suggestions on how to approve -- on how to
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improve, give us suggestions. i believe the american people are for saying that weapons designed for war did not belong on the streets of our cities. mayor nutter, i became mayor in 1978. the common carrier for a police officer was a .38 revolver and them one day in los angeles, the police work out gunned in a robbery. they had to break into a gun store to get guns that were sufficient to meet. so it has been racked up -- been ratched up. sandy hook is an example of the unparalleled and backed to families -- the unparalleled impact to families, children, teachers. it is hard to understand how
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anybody can defend. that defend -- can defend that candidly. thank you. mr. heslin, thank you. with help from the people of america, we might be able to pass that. it is an uphill job all the way but i believe we are right, you believe we are right and we will continue to fight. thank all of you for being here. it is very much appreciated. this meeting is adjourned. thank you. [applause] >> i leave the record open for statements. and the two letters will be entered into the record. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> it is not unknown to avoid sliding down one of these slippery slopes. u.s. policy must avoid both. consider the targeting powers the obama administration is not claiming with respect to americans overseas to affiliate themselves with the enemies. it is not a movie authority to target any such american citizen, only one that is a senior operational leader of al qaeda or one of its forces. it is not claiming the authority to target a senior operational
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terrorist if his capture is a easel alternative. it is not claiming the authority to target an american citizen who poses no imminent threat to american lives. it is not claiming the authority to act without compliance the laws of war. there is one case of u.s. forces targeting a specific american citizen with lethal force. the administration's view of this matter has for subsidiary components. the united states is in an arm of -- in a state of armed conflict. in this armed conflict, the united states is entitled to target the enemy with lethal force. there is no general immunity from targeting for u.s. citizens who sign up to wage
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war against their own country. whatever the constitution cost due process guarantees required before targeting a us bank, these are more than satisfied the i a judgment needs the administration's narrow test for targeting. consider a domestic hostage situation. law enforcement will use targeted killings. it will do so without judicial preapproval when the threats to the lives of the hostages are serious. no one takes the position that this constitutes unlawful killings. the case that meets the administration's legal test is not different from this hostage situation. a chorus of critics insist
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judicial review should be a future of the framework that authorizes the targeting of american nationals. this is an extremely difficult question. one point is clear. current law does not provide for perspective judicial involvement in targeting decisions. it is hard to fault if attorney general holder fails to bring a case for review before a court that does not exist. the obama administration has taken a measured and serious position concerning the targeting of americans overseas. one that reserves the right to target in the most extreme cases while leaving open the question of the minimum criteria for targeting to be lawful in less dire circumstances. it is a position that is neither radical nor surprising. it should not raise concerns
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that the administration is aiming undo presidential power. >> it is a pleasure to be back before you again. i want to start somewhere he left off, which is i do think there are some circumstances where the government is allowed to use lethal force against its own citizens. is not to say this is a good day or something we should be proud about. it is an important starting point for this it conversation. the question is not whether the government has the power to use the source. it is when. so much of the focus has been on this judicial review question, not as a sideshow because it is proxy for the larger conversation but because the concern is, are these
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operations being carried out in a manner that houses legal scrutiny? how can we be sure that the circumstances have been satisfied in an individual case. the white paper is silent. it suggests that anti-judicial review would not be probable. i do not disagree that there are concerns that would arise from review. i would like to explain how congress could provide a clearer, less problematic remedy that would allow these issues to be resolved by judges by creating a cause of action for damages after the fact. the only answer to the hard questions raised are for congress to allow courts to intervene, not beforehand but
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afterwards when our law enforcement officers use lethal force. let me explain how this could work using examples a. when congress enacted the foreign intelligence surveillance act, one provision included express cause of action. even where most of these determinations are made behind closed doors and ex-parquet. -- in ex parte. we have a model for congress providing damages for presumably secret governmental operations. there would be other potential obstacles that would get in the way. for example, the state privilege
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in invoking this in these types of situations. the state secret protection act was proposed in 2009. whether you follow the model or not, it would be easy for congress by statute to provide procedures pursuant to which these procedures could be resolved while protecting governmental secrecy. you could modify this after the congressional procedure act. you could look to the guantánamo habeas corpus is where the re the courts allow for the disagrees to bepin resolved. have security cleared counsel who have not disclose a single
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item of classified information as part of the guantánamo hearings. congress in 1998 in the westfall act provided a way around that for towards claims around the government. congress immunizes federal officers and substitutes the government as the defendant. this could be followed here. what would courts be reviewing on the merit? let me start from the proposition that this is a question courts are not completely incompetent at handling. courts routinely look backwards after a lethal use of force to decide whether the officer feared for the life. they look at the circumstances
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through hindsight. if we could resolve consensus, it would not be that hard to empower courts with the benefit of hindsight to intere to entern these claims. justice rehnquist suggests power does not come in a day but slowly from the force of disregard of the restriction of the insertion of authority. these killing operations by the executive branch present the legislation with two choices congress could accept with minimal scrutiny or oversight. they can open the doors to the disregards of which was warned about paris congress could require the government to defend
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the assertions before a neutral magistrate. so long as the government interest in secrecy are protected, and so long as the operations are consistent with the constitution, what does the government have to hide? i want to make one last point. there has only been one reported case of an operation targeting a us bank citizen. there are only three us citizens that have been killed in these operations. there are as many as 4700 casualties who have been killed by american drone strikes. many of those drugs were legal. -- many of those strikes were legal. we are not just talking about anwar al-awlaklaki.
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>> were an american citizen who is a singer operational leader of an al qaeda leader or associate leader of al qaeda poses a threat to capture -- and capture is not feasible, the u.s. can target and kill. imminent threat and the feasibility of capture are not well defined. do you see problems with the lack of specifics? >> the white paper is a summary of the team pages of what is a longer legal opinion. most members of congress have not seen the entire legal opinion. i understand. the administration while not
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providing the opinion provided to the president needs to be as forthcoming as possible on these very issues about imminent. i agree with the point in the white paper that emanates cannot mean that a terrorist is about to push the button tomorrow and that is the only time you can target him. there has to be a longer lead time. the administration has tried to explain that in the white paper and in attorney general holder speech. that is a controversial concept that has been troubling to americans and has been troubling to our allies. at what point does the u.s. think they will target someone if this concept of imminent is redefined to be a very broad concept? >> it is not just killing but also actions taken by the
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government that congress has required that the military get court approval before targeting an american citizen for surveillance, which has less consequences than killing them even in a foreign country. why shouldn't that requirement extends to a targeted killing? >> this is one of the ironies at the broad conceptual level. why is it that to conduct electronic surveillance of an american the executive branch has to go to a court. to kill an american, they do not. congress got concerned about electronic surveillance of americans and said, we want to set specific array matures before the executive branch does that. congress could do that. that is something this committee should think about. this may be a solution in search of a problem. the united states is not out regularly killing americans.
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>> it is good for the congress to check and make sure. >> if only one american has been killed, if congress on behalf of the american people is concerned about the government targeting people, congress could pass a statute that says not to require judicial review. that is too difficult in a war. specify the circumstances that the executive branch has to satisfy before they target an american and require notice and reporting back to congress. that is the check and balance. >> mr. chesney, does a white paper provide enough information about why the administration believes it has authority to kill us citizens abroad? i am not talking about an wall -laki.g -- al-w
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you have collateral damage you have to pay attention to. his 16-year-old son also a united states citizen and not a senior operational or of al qaeda was killed in the same attack. tell how we can refine making that distinction and protect the rights of law-abiding us citizens. that is a legitimate question when we know that he also faced the same demise. >> it is possible that in some of the documents there is a more expansive explanation as to the foundations of affirmative authority to target. there is a detail in the white paper. the core claim is the 2001
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authorization for use of military force is pertinent here. al qaeda number ship is woven into the conditions that are specified -- membership is woven into the conditions that are specified. what about the rights that are of similar magnitude to american lives that do not arise with in al qaeda nexus. the nature of the threat environment the us faces has evolved and it is the case that it is not enough to say the threat is al qaeda or gesture in the direction of associative forces at a certain point we have to ask whether there is a need for clearer statements from congress as to what situations the administration ought to bring in bringing to bear the armed conflict model. the white papers identified distinct head of authority.
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it is the duty of the president to defend the nation when faced with threats to american lives. >> my time has expired. >> i want to respond about the hostage situation. the collateral is a stic possibility in a hostage situation. it is one of the principles that makes the analogy that humane accidentally kill some of the hostages. the collateral deaths of us businesses -- >> that is where the immigrants to the dangers of the hostages israel. >> you have the possibility of imminent danger -- >> you do not have that with someone driving around in yemen.
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>> you have the possibility of imminent death of people on airplanes that he is putting -- >> i am not defending mr. alawl aki. what can we do to protect u.s. citizens? >> the answer to that has to be rigorous procedures. whether there are rigorous procedures -- you want a rigorous procedures on the side of making sure the target is person who you think he is and making sure that you have identified rigorously the person who acts as a lawful target. you want rigorous procedures that will be in a fashion consistent with the laws of war and minimize collateral damage. >> >> it is important for the
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purposes of this conversation to keep in mind we are dealing with different scenarios of cases. the answer will change depending on whether the justification is classic self- defense where there is a clear imminent threat to u.s. persons or interests -- hostage situations. were an operation that takes place as a part of the broader conflict. we will have different answers to your questions on which category we are talking about. >> the chair recognizes the ranking member of the constitution subcommittee. and the government from new york for five minutes. >> my first question i must give credit to an issue of the
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nation. imagine that russian president vladimir putin's had a remote control drone to kill enemies and asia and eastern europe. imagine he does not acknowledge the killings and asserted that he had the right to kill anyone he secretly determined was the leader of the rebels or associated forces. if they posed no immediate threat, how would the state department treat a practice such as this? >> this is a real problem. it could happen this year where the state department spokesman will have to stand up after russia has used a drone against a dissident in the next country. the state department will have to explain why that was a bad
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drone strike in comparison to the united states that only conducts good and lawful drone strikes. that isn't working for our government -- that is important for our government to lay down as precisely clear roles for the use of drones. >> is it the case that if russia or china or someone were doing what mr. cole posits, we would condemn that out of hand? we would not say this trend strike was ok and that one was not. >> if russia or china were being attacked by a terrorist group that was indisputably producing -- posing imminent threat. >> the chechens attacked them at one point. >> if they were in another country posing imminent threats to russia and the country they were in was unable to prevent that threat, i think we would have to acknowledge rushers
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right to defend itself. >> mr. bellinger and said we need to process. not judicial process. i do not understand how the determination by an executive branch official without any judicial involvement can be considered to process. the white paper says we can attack a senior operational terrorist posing an imminent right consistent with laws of war. i do not understand why we need a senior operational terrorist. like this the have to pose an imminent threat? the analysis is different. either this person is an enemy combatants or he is not. if he is not an enemy combatant, he is subject to normal criminal law.
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we should have normal due process. if he is an enemy combatant, he does not need due process. how do you determine whether he is and who determines whether he is an and many -- enemy combatant? under the laws of war, he is a legitimate target. who can determine that and to what standards? what precedents do we have? on what grounds? how can the executive determined that without any kind of other determination? >> as a matter of law, you have taken a position that is more permissive with respect to targeting than the obama administration's position. >> i said you have to determine properly. >> you have raised a never process -- a never process to
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determine a broader category. the obama administration will not assert generally the right to target any u.s. national overseas who may did in the law of war category of belligerency. it will target people when they are an imminent threat and a senior operational leader whose capture is unfeasible. you are taking a view that is more permissive and inclusive of war possible target. with a concern about a lack of process on the judiciary side. it is a very legitimate question what processes this body wants to impose for making those determinations. my only click is that there is nothing -- my only point is that there is nothing extreme about the substanctive position the
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administration has taken. under current law, there is no basis for judicial process at all. there is no forum in which to take these questions. >> i share your concerns about the view that due process is not a requirement. the only thing that is worth keeping in mind is due process is not a requirement of the deposition -- pre-deprivation. there are circumstances where the supreme court has said the government is allowed to act and we will review after whether they acted with procedural safeguards. that is not necessarily the shot of your view that there should be productive nation but rather that there is a requirement that some neutral magistrate is
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reviewing and whether the government's decision was made with adequate safeguard. >> comment on the question that i posed. under laws, if someone is not an enemy combatant, you cannot target him in any way without due process. if he is an enemy combatant, there are consequences from there. how do we determine? if someone is wearing a uniform in normandy in 1944, it is easy to assume he is an enemy combatants. how do we determine who is? when there is doubt about the status, there is supposed to be a hearing. they can be administrative. there is a requirement that at
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some point as soon as it is possible you are insuring in fact that the safeguards you have implemented have produced the right person. the supreme court said we need more due process especially when u.s. this is -- citizens are concerned. >> we have gone into this decision-making process. i reflect on the constitution and the commander-in-chief. even though there is tension over this issue, i do not want to disempower our commander-in- chief from protecting americans. neither do i want to delay his decision to act. we are confronted with the question, if we are going to review the decision, either we gift card launch -- give carte
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power to the president or we define the conditions i the congress and we ask for a review. perspective concerns may because that delays the response. retrospective goes to congress or the judicial branch of government. that is the question before us. the definitions. it has to be a retrospective, not prospective. i prefer we review it in congress by some form rather than handing over war fighting to the judicial branch. the politico station -- the politicization is a balance. i would ask the witnesses to go down a line and way judicial or congressional review.
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but would be your preference? what i do not know why you cannot have both processes over i operating side-by-side where bedrooms have -- where victims have recourse to the courts. i do not know why they need to be mutually exclusive. they serve different purposes. they indicate different interests. >> with regard to security. >> the guantánamo habeas corpus is are a good example for all of us. these are cases where the government's arguments were concerns about ossified information being disclosed to the public. even though there have been five or six dozen debuts cases -- hey these cases, i am unfamiliar with a case where any item of classified information was disclosed to those precedents -- proceedings.
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>> i am instinctively imposed to prospective to dish a review of these questions. i do think the congress in the form of the intelligence committee and senator feinstein have issued a substantial statement about what the senate intelligence committee has done be viewing the strikes. i find the written statement on the attractiveness on postdoc review judicially to the a very intriguing document. that has a lot to recommend it. i commend it to the committee. the professor has attempted to narrow the categories of prospective review, which i
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viscerally opposed. narrow it down to its fineness levels where it would be least intrusive. that is a model that has a bot to recommend. there is opportunities in both spears. >> what it be your opinion that post but didn't if you would delay in operation? >> it could. i fear that the citation on the part of the executive branch would be to throw lots of things to whatever judicial tribunal was created to get cover for things. you would end up with a substantial and unanticipated dialogue between whatever tribunal you created in the executive and the way that has been done a track of who he in that context. >> i agree that congressional
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or recite should be granular, serious, with as much transparency as possible. that is common ground for everyone. i endeavor to show -- i come down in favor of prospective jhoc. than post tal. decisions whether the person is in your site and who is who you think it is. what could be properly reviewed by the judiciary would include the alleged membership of the edmontoe individual of the rollr
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question. there has to be an accident talk down. >> fax accident talk down. you have to decide if it is a problem that is coming up so frequently that congress needs to -- we have only had one example. it is a serious example. congress could legislate the criteria of who should be targeted. you may put it more specifically. in the procedures that would be required for targeting inside the executive branch. i would not require pro perspective or a retrospective judicial review. the checks and balances and our constitutional system where
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reporting to congress, there was a long leadtime with the targeting of mr. awlaki. if congress does, we as agreed. we think this guy is exercising his first amendment rights, the executive to take that into account. after, if the executive rent has targeted americans, i do not see why the executive cannot report that to congress. that is the check and balance. we are talking about an armed conflict situation. tying the president hands before or after the judicial review if an armed conflict decision as commander-in-chief, it is a serious problem. >> prospective if possible and retrospective if necessary.
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i yield to the gentleman from regina. >> -- from virginia. >> the determination has to be made that the target is a senior operational reader of al qaeda, imminent threat, capture not feasible, consistent with laws of war. does the white paper talk about the standard that is used whether it is beyond a reasonable doubt or moral certainty preponderance of the evidence or there is a standard not clearly erroneous? where is the standard? >> i do not think the white paper goes out of its way to say. he cause the white paper disfavors judicial review. >> what evidence can be of any rules as to what evidence can be considered? >> there are no legislatively
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impose the rules of evidence. >> can hearsay be considered to ascertain whether or not the -- >> there may be well internal and classified executive branch rules. >> we are talking about the rules we will go by. is there any prohibition against hearsay being considered? why is it not considered admissible in a court of lord? -- court of law. >> it is considered unreliable. >> that can be considered to put someone to death? >> or is nothing that suggests that it cannot be. >> judicial review we have had situations where the hostage situation is imminent and ongoing. is there any problem with a prospective judicial review if feasible? c if not.ve
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>> the legal concern is there is a question about whether there is adversity in the dings.al procedure e in this context, you would have a problem if this government have this application to a judge with no one representing the other side. view could turn, into death war where judges feel pressure to defer to the
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government without adverse counsel visitation. in the concepts of front prospective review, judges can see what happened. >> how long are people on the list? >> we do not know. it appears to be the case that mr. awlaki was targeted for some extended amount of time. cards if you are on the list for an experienced time, at some point, someone could have wandered over to an independent review. family did.i's there was a lawsuit on behalf of mr. awlaki and the d.c. court before the operation that ended terminating his life. it was dismissed on a series of
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procedural grounds. there was an attempt to do that. >> what recourse is there for someone who is on the list by mistake? >> the government suggested that if he wanted to turn himself in, they would oblige him. when it is public that the government believes it has the authority to kill a person, they could think to turn themselves in and confessetes t it. >> is jill kelley the only method? >> this is not just about drones. it is used for any number of military hardware to conduct killings. >>handguns.
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>> it is not about drones pertain se. i make it easier for the government to conduct these operations than conventional technologies. >> is their rationale for killing them overseas? what if they are found in the united states? >> one of the critical considerations is the feasibility of capture. the federal government will never take the position that it is in feasible to capture a individual within the territorial united states. the government could claim the authority in exceptional circumstances to use legal force against a u.s. citizen. law enforcement officers do with all of the time. that circumstance will not arise because you will not satisfy the and feasibility of capturing. i does not mean the government
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would not claim such force in another context. >> the gentleman from arizona. >> thank you for being here. i was struck right the chairman of the committee's juxtaposition between surveillance and the drone strikes. i will have to begin my comments by suggesting that as we look back when the administration of a serrated the bush forewordation of the serrate aborting situations under -- four waterboarding situations. the drone strikes are something that they can move forward to. it seems there is more than a subtle difference between waterboarding and blowing
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someone into it turns you -- into a paternity. the hypocrisy is profound on this front. i expect certain cognitive dissidents and a certain unwillingness for this administration to hold himself constrained to the truth. for those of thiis who are committed to protecting the constitutional way of life, we have to focus narrowly on this process."uie that has to be our definitional tasks. there are none of us that would say we just need to do away with due process.
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we have due process in this country. if there is an imminent threat and the degree of the imminent is taken into consideration, the due process exists because of that conditionality. i would like to see if we could find consisten consensus as to t critical elements should be in any congressional outlining of due process here and whether there should be some significant putative measures built into that kind of guideline to keep an administration within the trap of just track of what befits our constitutional premise? >> i cannot resist receiving the
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criticisms from people on the outside to address your point about hypocrisy. i have been supportive of the obama administration's counterterrorism policies. i would have liked to have seen some of them acknowledge that maybe some of these issues that they claimed we were making huge mistakes on the four are more difficult than they acknowledge. we see little of that acknowledgment. i am here to give the same kind of bipartisan support to this administration that i would have liked seen some of them given to us on these different -- difficult counterterrorism issues. due process does not mean judicial process. it can mean judicial process. the constitution never said judicial process. it says you cannot be deprived
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without due process. what is the process that is due? in a situation where we have an armed conflict, a war, the process i think this congress can say is to say an american can only be car killed who fit certain criteria. it has to be a senior criteria -- al qaeda leader. the executive branch has to review this and reach high confidence that the person reaches those criteria and were possible has notified congress in advance if that is possible and afterword. i would guess that the panelists would say we could agree on those criteria if congress were going to legislate. and if there is some judicial role or not. but i appreciate your answers
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across the board. >> we have to be careful that it is not that due process is an requirement of judicial process. the way to ensure the government has provided the process that is due is not to simply take the government's rol word for it buo provide review. this court can look to the jurisprudence that the supreme court has articulated. with regard to what kind of due process is to an american citizen, even one that takes up arms against the united states. there is a lot we can learn with regard to the balance we should strike in those circumstances. if this committee is serious
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about codifying the standards, there is precedence to base that on. >> are there putative elements and those guidelines for a government that fails to follow them? a prosecutor's case collapses if he does not do miranda rights. >> i suggest you can divide a damages regime. there will come a point where a government officer may break him in loss if they act with gross negligence. it would be a significant step in this to provide and create civil remedies. that would have a salutary effect on the government's practice. going further would run into the question of who would prosecute that case. with the government be interest
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in prosecuting its own officers? >> we do that all of the time. >> it is true in the military. it provides for court marshaling of our service members. several remedies may be -- civil remedies may be appropriate. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from puerto rico for five minutes. >> i have questions based on your prior testimony. i have noticed that some of you have asserted that the obama administration's taking a limited targeting authority with respect to american citizens. do you believe that the obama administration consistent with article ii of the constitutiona could have assertd
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a broader targeting authority? if yes, in what respect? >> i am interested in understanding whether you believe the administration has gone to the outer limits of its article ii powers. if not, in what ways has it not? >> i want each of you to comment. >> the administration probably has not gone to the outer bounds of what its constitutional powers would be. none of us know what those bounds are. the administration has taken a very restrictive standard. instead of saying that the only americans that could be targeted would be those who are senior operational al qaeda leaders, the administration
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could have said under the constitution that any american who had taken up arms against the united states as part of an armed conflict could be targeted. if this were a traditional war and there were german americans, we would not have said that the only german-american who had taken arms would be a person who was a senior leader who posed an imminent threat. the president would have broader authority. the administration understands this is a serious power they are asserting to kellen american. they have taken a limited reading. >> i agree. it is noticeable that the administration's formulation in the white paper and the attorney general's speech is al qaeda- specific. it does not have to be. if we are talking about the duties of the president to defend the nation in a case of
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imminent threat. that came from another extremist group. that power would still be there. >> the administration could take a more robust position under the a.u.mf.f. the d.c. circuit has said in the habeas corpus that it is enough to justify targeting -- .etention du the administration could take the view that an american who is part of enemy forces is lawfully targetable under the laws of war and other the -- under the a.u.m.f. what it has said his it has
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addressed a specific case, which is the case of anwar al-awlaki who is found to be a senior al qaeda operational leader whose capture was not plausible who posed an imminent threat and whose targeting would be lawful under the laws of war. it asked a question which is, is it lawful to target this guy? a limited air answer to that question -- they limited their answer to that question so as not to take on bigger questions and more difficult questions and they needed to and that moment. a limited that answer to that question to those three circumstances. that leaves a lack of ancillary questions like, what about the non-operational senior leader who poses imminent threat? what about the operational senior leader who does not pose an imminent threat?
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what about the u.s. citizen footsoldier? those questions are left open. there is no claim of authority to target such people. >> i went to clarify since my comments have been quoted a number of times that i was not suggesting that we should broaden its targeting criteria. i was suggesting that none of this make sense until you determine if someone is an enemy combatants. that is the first russian that must be determined with some sort of due process or neutral process. >> there are two baskets of questions. one is the substantive criteria for targeting and one is the procedural dimensions of how you determine whether someone is and
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that substantive criteria. you described a broad criteria for targeting and suggested that your anxiety about u.s. targeting process vis-à-vis citizens was on the procedural side or the people were or in that narrow basket. what the administration has done is exactly the opposite of that, which it has defined a narrow substantive basket and it has no known procedural or public procedural -- >> however narrow or broad the basket question you have to answer that question first question are you and enemy combatants and have the procedural due process? >> all of the members of the panel would agree. >> may i confirm with that?
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this is based on mr. chesney's comments. the obama administration's formulation requires that there be a link with al qaeda before you can do any targeting here. is that correct? the way it is formulated right now, the policy requires a link to our car to -- a link to al qaeda? >> it is careful to say that it is making a claim of authority to attack where there is that senior al qaeda link. it is not written in a way they are denying the authority of the way. they built al qaeda -- how broad is that? >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> i would like to get back to
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basics. this may trouble mr. nadler. i will probably agree with him. do not make me nervous. and the big scheme of things, when this came to light, myself and the gentleman from south carolina wrote a letter to eric holder asking for specific constitutional authority and tracking it to the activities of drone strikes against americans overseas. he did not get an answer. we have sent a letter of -- subsequent to that when we got more information on february 8. we still have not received an answer from eric holder. there is no one from the justice department here with their battery of lawyers. we have not gotten one that would tell us the constitutional authority for killing americans overseas that fit this criteria.
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i would like to introduce those of these letters into the record. >> they will be made part of the record. >> high-back brown is a judge. i believe in judicial review. -- my background is a judge. i believe in judicial viereview. i do not buy the argument there is not enough time to get some judicial review. 22 years of experience. judges working with law enforcement can move fast under all of the serious examples you have talked about. i do not buy we have to let prosecutors to judicial review. they work for the executive branch. that is my perception on that issue. the points are -- who fits this criteria? who makes the determination that that person fits the criteria? senior-level executive branch
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person yet to be named -- that troubles me. who is that person? we do not know. i do not think that is the xor t -- authority of the executive branch. who makes that determination? then, that person is allowed to be on the kill list. mr. szczecin -- mr. chesney, university of texas, congratulations. two daughters there. you made the comment that if there is a judicial review, and needs -- a good idea to review it when the person is put on the kill list. i am troubled with the concept are put on the kill list, killed, and then we have a review after that to see if it
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is lawful. it does not do the dead guy much when we find out we made a mistake. i do not like these people. they need to be dealt with about crimes against america. i have asked you to weigh in on this to help us improve the system. you have to get judicial review to listen to a phone conversation with an american overseas. you do not need judicial review to come from overseas. do you think we need some kind of judicial review at the outset of living this person on the kill list? >> it is a good idea. it can be done if done carefully. the key to doing it carefully so it addresses the interests of the citizen and the imperative of protecting the country that rests on the president soldiers -- shoulders is to this act are great the questions may ask. we do not want j